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After graduating from New York State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, Christine began working within the management team of International Fairs & Promotion, a regional exhibition and event organisation company. Perhaps inspired by one of her favourite quotes by Jeffrey Pfeffer, “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off”, she began to feel that it was time for something new: “During my last 2 years of employment, after giving birth to my first son, Georgie, I had a call for change. By the end of 2006 I decided to resign and enrol in a Management Coaching and Mentoring Program with the Institute of Leadership and Management.”
Only one year later Christine had established VIVITI Coaching & Mentoring, a coaching practice in Beirut. As her client base grew, from sole business owners to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Christine was eager to continue her professional development. In 2009 she joined the Coaching Academy as a protégé student and, interested in the creation of values-driven organisations, she went on to obtain a qualification with the Barrett Values Center in 2011, as a Cultural Transformation Consultant.
Two years ago, Christine decided to take some office space with Berytech, Lebanon’s leading business incubator and coincidentally, Mowgli’s Nominated Local & Empowered Partner in Lebanon. It was during her time there that Christine first became aware of Mowgli. Besides utilising and developing her qualifications and experience, her drive to become part of the Mowgli Family centered on her honouring one of her core values: “My main motivation for joining Mowgli as a mentor was based in one of my core values of making a difference and giving back.”
Whilst she was completing her diploma she began to truly understand and appreciate the nature and extent of the support that she had received throughout her life and entrepreneurial journey: “Only then did I realise that I have had many mentors along the way, one of which was my father, and later my husband. I have always had mentors supporting me, and in turn I have also mentored friends and clients on different occasions”. Following that period and what I have seen to date “I am very conscious of the impact a mentor has on an entrepreneur.”
For Christine, the ‘matching’ part of the Kickstart workshop, which marks the beginning of the 1-year Mowgli Mentoring Experience (MME), was a thrilling experience: “Meeting twelve different entrepreneurs, full of life, and energy, and enthusiasm gave me such a chill. The fact that I would be matched with one of them by the end of the workshop was even more exciting.” From the outset, she developed a strong rapport with Yorgui Teyouz, a Lebanese social entrepreneur who founded Donner Sang Compter, a blood donation organisation. “Yorgui’s openness and authenticity, as well as mine, played a crucial role in establishing trust quickly. It was amazing how we got matched on the second day. I think our bond was quite clear to see!”
When asked about the pairing and what made it both successful and enjoyable, Christine commented that: “Besides a strong relationship based on trust and openness, commitment in my opinion was key. For instance, we used to meet on a weekly basis for the first six months”. With a big smile she credits their success to Yorgui’s drive and passion: “He is a very inspiring young man and he never failed to take action on his commitments. I think that inspired me and motivated me to be present.”
Regarding the impact her guidance has had, Christine is very positive: “I believe that the work I have done with Yorgui helped him translate his vision into SMART goals. Being his sounding board helped him look at things from a different perspective and to evaluate his options. What I believe also supported him was the regular follow up feedback and evaluations that we used to do together.”
As well as guiding Yorgui through the challenges he faced, it gave Christine a perfect opportunity to reflect on her own business, “It is really powerful when you start asking your mentee questions that you ought to ask yourself. It gave me the chance to think of different aspects of my practice and my life. It is always healthy to have time to think in your life and this is one key thing that the programme offered me.”
Throughout the year, Christine drew inspiration from the other Mentors and Entrepreneurs that she met during the Kickstart workshop, and found that the whole experience was “extremely inspiring and fulfilling on many levels; meeting new people, becoming part of a support network, and connecting with my mentee in a structured way that I believe supported the process of our year together.”
Having enjoyed and gained so much value from being a Mowgli Mentor, Christine decided to become a Mowgli Facilitator. “I wanted to be able to make a difference in the lives of both Mentors and Entrepreneurs by taking them on a transformational experience in a period of three days and periodically thereafter throughout the year. I am humbled by the experience and trust that is given back to me; watching the dynamics of the environment throughout the workshop is truly unique and inspiring.”
Christine encourages those who believe they have what it takes to inspire, guide and empower others to “go for it!” adding, “There are few relationships in life that are as rewarding as being able to support someone on their journey to success.”
Christine believes the impact of Mowgli’s work for the MENA region is very valuable: “Mowgli offers people an opportunity to inspire, connect, grow and develop the future of our region’s entrepreneurs. I, for one, know that being part of the Mowgli Family is something I want and I truly believe that with the impact that the MME has, we are able to offer what is highly needed by entrepreneurs in the region. The sky is the limit."